The second installment in The Masterpiece Adventures series, which stars a human boy named James and his best beetle friend, Marvin, this early chapter book finds Marvin on a very important mission.
Marvin has finally been invited to go collecting! He will join other members of his family as they roam James’ family’s apartment looking for treasures to bring back to their little home in the cupboard. Marvin might be a beetle, but his emotions are all too human and economically communicated as he moves from ambition to jealousy of his cousin (who has scored a shiny dime!) to concern about his uncle, who has been impaled by a pair of nail scissors. After the accident, Marvin knows he must ask James for help, and his confidence is rewarded when James bandages the hurt beetle and gently carries him home. In return for the kindness, Marvin decides to return the only thing he had found on his first collecting mission, a small, pointy black item that turns out to be James’ prize shark tooth. The characters have distinct personalities, the story is well-paced, and the focus on unlikely alliances and mutual trust suffuses the tale with warmth.
Full of drama and heart, this is the kind of series that can show newly independent readers the power of a good story. (Fantasy. 6-8)